The utility sector is constantly challenged by various issues derailing its smooth performance. One of the most pressing issues it currently faces is the lack of effective asset management – which combines data capture, integration, visualization, analytics, and reliability when it comes to maintaining mission-critical equipment and aging infrastructure.
In addition to the data, facilities, buildings, and fleets are also essential components of this sector. The power and utility sector rely heavily on critical assets such as gas pipelines, substations, storage wells, electrical grids, dams, distribution, and transmission lines – to name a few.
There are a variety of problems that affect the proper production of utilities and call for regular maintenance. For example, changing government regulations, switching to clean and renewable energy sources, and upgrading old infrastructure. If a production-critical asset fails, so does the services’ production, affecting overall profits.
The existing asset management solutions are good enough for maintenance but still operate in a reactive mode instead of a predictive and proactive stance. If you want to improve your asset efficiency and reliability, the best place to start is by identifying the areas of your current operations that bother you the most. Once you understand what needs to be improved, you can look for asset management solutions and tools to help you fix these challenges.
To better understand, ask yourself if your company is losing time and production due to unplanned downtime of assets. Or if your customers are experiencing outages due to failing equipment and infrastructure.
Enterprise Asset Management Solutions
Asset management solutions can help industries and organizations better manage and maintain their most crucial equipment. Many utilities base their asset maintenance schedules on time intervals, taking transformers out of service every few years for cleaning and changing parts.
A better approach is based on a fleet of assets’ current health and performance. Utilities can improve their asset performance management programs by developing health index ratings for all assets.
Here we mention some of the best practices when it comes to enterprise asset management solutions –
Asset Prioritization and Categorization
By categorizing assets according to their importance or level of criticality to the company, you’ll be able to make decisions more quickly about repair or replacement in order to maintain the organization and its customers. Equipment that’s essential for service delivery, for example, is prioritized higher than assets that would aid performance but wouldn’t directly hinder the delivery of services.
The health of the infrastructure can be readily assessed by coupled key performance indicators (KPIs), and optimize systems and performance by allocating resources effectively.
Baseline Establishment and Ongoing Monitoring
To understand the health and performance of your assets, utilities need to focus on metrics that matter most for each. By understanding what optimal levels for those metrics are, you’ll be able to assess the current state of any asset better and more quickly. This helps you improve decision-making processes and better target areas for optimization.
Once you find the source of the problem, it becomes easier to resolve issues such as outages, utility performance, and other service issues efficiently. For example, if you’re relying on field service teams to conduct in-field testing and analysis, it can take much longer to figure out what’s happening. But if you have central monitoring in place, many service issues can be identified immediately. That way, field service technicians can be sent directly to the source of the problem instead of wasting time trying to figure out where it is.
Proactive Maintenance > Reactive Maintenance
The traditional methodology usually involves investing in assets and then letting them run until they break down. This reactive approach is no longer good enough because consumers expect more speed, quality, and consistency today. The run-to-failure approach often leads to downtimes, which can take hours or even days to fix, resulting in a loss of consumer trust and damage to reputation. In competitive industries, losing confidence in quality and service will eventually cause customers to switch to alternative providers.
Today’s utility companies benefit from technology that allows for data collection, a vast improvement from the old days of run-to-failure. With data, utilities can now understand how an asset performs without field tests. Additionally, data can help test the results of placing an increased load on an individual asset or system.
Data-Driven Decisions For The Win
When asset tags and barcode labels are used with sophisticated enterprise asset management software, the data gathered can simulate outcomes from various changes, facilitating accurate projections to drive decision-making. Additionally, data collection provides the means to compare systems and assets in terms of performance and lifetime value, so when it is time to invest in new equipment, utilities are armed with the knowledge that drives smarter investments.